As 2015 draws to a close, these are highlights of the year at the Kenya RugbyUnion.
Administration & Development
The KRU hosted its first ever National Development Conference which focused on Governance as its main theme. It is the intention to make this an annual conference on growing and developing the game countrywide.
Additionally, – Basemath Nyabando, Mary Otieno and Shirley Anindo were among the nine Regional Development Officers hired to play roles in enabling the KRU achieve its objectives of growing the game within their respective regions.
Training & Education
Geoffrey Kimani earned his stripes as the first Kenyan World Rugby certified S & C educator while Mary Otieno became the first ever Kenyan female world Rugbycertified coach educator.
Age Grade Competitions
The inaugural KRU U18 National Sevens tournament took place on 15/16th August at the RFUEA Grounds in Nairobi, attracting 16 teams from the top tier Kenya Cup and subsidiary leagues. Moving forward, this tournament is envisaged to be a regular fixture on the KRU calendar.
Regional GIR (Get Into Rugby ) festivals were held in the Western, Eastern and Nairobi regions in November. A National GIR festival in the U-16 category was held in late November in Nakuru
The Kenya Cup took on a new structure with a greater commercial bent. This new initiative will impact the way we run our rugby and help us create stronger structures to keep pace with the game as it changes world wide. In 2015, both the Kenya Cup and Enterprise Cup were won by KCB Rugby club. The National Sevens Series was exciting with different winners of each leg. The overall title was won by Nakuru RFC who displayed a most complete game.
The 20th Safari Sevens was held in September after months of uncertainty. 16 teams participated, 12 of them national teams. The tournament was won by Samurai Invitational after years of trying. Kenya Shujaa were runners up in the nail biting final which ended in a 19-20 score. In 2016, we host the Africa Sevens in conjunction with the Safari Sevens on 23-25 September.
The 6 teams played in the inaugural KRU Women’s league was played over six weeks in 2015, Mwamba RFC running off with the title. This helped to raise the profile and increase awareness of the women’s game.
Women’s Sevens Rugby was played at the 2015 KSSSA National Schools Championships as a demonstration sport.
The national Women’s Sevens team were invited to the Women’s World Sevens Series Qualifier in Dublin and won the Bowl tournament.
They subsequently played in the Africa Olympic Qualifier in Johannesburg, South Africa and lost in the final to South Africa. South Africa withdrew from the Olympics in Rio 2016 and the Kenya team was invited to be one of 12 Women rugby 7’s teams to play in that tournament in August 2016
The Kenya Sevens Men’s team defeated Zimbabwe to win the Africa Sevens and qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics
The Lionesses also successfully defended the Women’s Elgon Cup, beating Uganda home and away.
Hosting and winning four test matches against Portugal, Tunisia, Uganda and Spain saw the rise of the Kenya fifteens team in the world rankings, breaking into the top 30 for the first time ever. We also played 2 away matches against Namibia and Zimbabwe. This was the first time the KRU played 6 test matches and this increased the visibility and popularity of the game at home
This was a hard year for KRU with regards to sponsors. We however would like to thank all those who believed that we had turned the corner with regards to the governance issues that had plagued the Union towards the end of 2014 and early 2015. We appreciate Zuku, Safaricom, Kenya Airways, Tusker, KCB, Resolution Insurance, CITAM, Strathmore University, Coca Cola, Jamii Telecom and look forward to renewed partnerships in 2016.